Under direction of its new ad agency, Droga5, the makers of U.K. beer Newcastle Brown Ale have invested in their first national TV spot. Launched April 2, the “No Bollocks” ad appears at first to be a dull and drawn out demonstration of the beer brewing process. But … wait for it … there’s a punchline: “Why do we focus so much on our brewmaster’s hands? Because she is not an attractive woman.”
Lest women be offended, Droga5’s brand director, Charles Van Es, helpfully explains the thought process behind the commercial:
With this campaign we are going to be very honest with our consumers. Our guys know it when they are marketed to, so we believe it’s time for a beer brand to give it to them straight, just like their best mates would do. The people of Newcastle, England–Geordies–don’t take themselves too seriously, love a good joke, and most importantly, they tell it like it is. Our ads celebrate these traits by using a no-nonsense approach, where we are not over promising anything.
So let’s get this correct, Newcastle Brown Ale is honest about using the hackneyed approach of sexist advertising in order to market itself as a beer for men. It does not seem to have any worries at all that disregarding half of the population with this “no nonsense” advertising will result in financial loss.
I’ll give it to them–they are definitely straight in their construction of their imaginary target audience. This “Geordie” type sounds like a mid-20s frat boy who spends his Friday night sitting around a table trying to one-up his fellow “best mates” in an insecure attempt to assert his masculinity. Somehow I’d guess that homosexual men are not welcome at that table.
But most importantly, Newcastle Brown Ale is talking no nonsense. They don’t need to sell their product with sexy women, they can sell it with an ugly woman, because they’ve got quality (just, apparently, not quality advertising.)
We’ve got some no-nonsense words for Newcastle Brown Ale and its parent company, Heineken International. Listen up: The stereotype that professional women are ugly went out with the Cold War. Women around the world work in professional careers and are highly respected by their male peers. One of them is Rachel Sutherland, an actual woman brewmaster at Newcastle Ale, whom we’d would wager isn’t too happy about this ad.
If you agree that Heineken and Newcastle Brown Ale are doing a disservice to women and men by perpetuating outdated stereotypes that all successful, intelligent women are ugly and that all male beer drinkers are Archie Bunker, email all three companies by signing our Change.org petition:
For a more personal touch, you can call Newcastle’s customer service line at 1.877.522.4577 and really tell it like it is.